Are You Guilty of Unrealistic Fitness Expectations?

female-holding-water-bottleI read an article written by Rod Sims, in one of Carolyn’s newsletters and the title was 10 Questions to Find Out if Fitness Failure is in Your Future. The article brought back memories of when I got frustrated because I was not seeing or getting the results in my fitness routine that I so desperately wanted. I stopped exercising, which was the wrong move.  I had fitness failure at the time and now I understand why.

Here’s what Rod said in the article that really got me thinking about my own fitness failures:

Do you really think a flat stomach or thick sexy ab muscles come from situps or crunches?  Believe me, it doesn’t come from doing a 50 set crunch program. For the most part, when people are talking about losing weight or even just being fit, the abs are the main point of contention and symbol of success.  Generally, men do routines that are obsessed with big arms and chest, but they also tend to be obsessed with having a 6-pack. I even know women doing hundreds of crunches a day, straining neck and back long-term for tentative, minimal improvement in the appearance of their bodies, period, let alone their abs. Situps and crunches actually bulk those muscles up(spoiler alert). There’s nothing wrong with wanting a good looking midsection. But if you’re spending an hour a day crunching yourself into oblivion, you should literally ‘back out’ of that program. Great looking abs come primarily from what was mentioned previously in tip #1, diet then comes the toning. Once that stubborn belly fat is gone, you may be surprised at what you find underneath. That’s when the better movements like mountain climbers and rotation planks come in handy. Focus on total body movements not ab-specific.”

I thought if I worked out a few days a week, that I would automatically see an immediate change in my body. Reality didn’t smack me in the face until my husband said, “Evelyn, you can’t work out a few days and then stop. You have to keep exercising and do it everyday to get the results you want. You will not get a flatter abdominal area if you are not consistent.”

I knew my husband was telling the truth, but it was hard for me to stick with a routine. I would start a routine and as quickly as I started, I would end up stopping. How’s that for consistency and to top it off I had unrealistic fitness expectations. How in the world would I get the results I wanted if I didn’t put in the time and effort? I didn’t have a genie in a bottle to grant me my wish and I had no choice, but to put in the time and effort it takes to reach my goals.

Today, I work out at least 6-7 days a week and I enjoy working out (can’t believe I said that). I am happy to say that I am seeing results. Sometimes, I don’t feel like exercising, but I know that if I don’t exercise, that I will get into a rut and not exercise at all. Something I don’t want to happen. I have to admit that sometimes, things come up and I can’t do everything in my routine, but I do something if it’s only for 10-15 minutes.

Do you have unrealistic fitness expectations? If you do, stop and reevaluate yourself today.

Set realistic goals and follow through. Here is what has worked for me:

1. Set Goals and Follow Through (no matter what)

Decide what you what to achieve with your fitness routine. If you want a flat abdominal area, toned arms and legs, do exercises that target those areas, but don’t over do it.  Make sure you are eating a healthy diet and getting the nutrients you need for your body. Don’t stop the fitness routine, because you’re not seeing results.

Remember following through is what gets you the results and you can’t give up. You have to keep pushing yourself.

2. Stay Consistent (no matter what)

You don’t have to over do it, by doing 100 pushups or a gazillion squats, but you must stay consistent. If it means you do 25-30 pushups a day and you’re comfortable with that, then do it and stay consistent.sweating-exercise

My arm story: One day (recently), my husband and I were watching an online program. He said, “Wow, you have some little muscles in your arms, I can actually see them.” I have stayed consistent with doing my arm exercises and it is paying off. Consistency is the key!

3. Do What Is Comfortable for You (no matter what)

Just because Susie has flatter abdominal area than you do, doesn’t mean you have to start doing the fitness routine that she’s doing. What’s comfortable for her, might not the best routine for you. Find a few good exercises that you enjoy doing and stick with those exercises.

Don’t change what you are doing when it is working for you. You will start seeing results, but you have to do the exercises regularly. Don’t be a fair-weather exerciser. Exercise even when you don’t want to and always make sure you are comfortable with what you are doing.

4. Push or Test Yourself (no matter what)

Do what’s comfortable for you, but every now and then push or test yourself to do a little more. If you can comfortably do 40 pushups, test yourself, by doing a few more pushups. Soon you’ll be doing 50 pushups without giving it much thought.

5. Stay Focused (no matter what)

Staying focused is the key ingredient you need for reaching your fitness goals. You can’t let anyone or anything distract you; not even yourself. When something comes up and you can’t exercise on the day you have scheduled, exercise the next day, but don’t start skipping days or you will find yourself not exercising at all.

Final Words

Don’t expect a 6-pack or toned arms and legs in less than a week or two of exercising. Unrealistic fitness expectations can set up you for disappointment and failure, which can result in your not exercising at all and we don’t want that.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes time for your body to change, but you have to keep putting in the time and effort. If you faint not, you will reap the benefits and the rewards.

Image courtesy of David Castillo /


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About the Author

Evelyn Parham started this site in 2010. She enjoys writing, reading, and dabbling in photography and video editing. Learn more about her here.

8 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Evelyn, great article and so true! Your goals are very doable and I will take them to heart and just do it! 🙂

  2. Jesse says:

    Nice Post.

    Do exercises that you enjoy, look after your diet, be consistent but push yourself a little and the rest will look after itself.

  3. CG Reviews says:

    I often overdo it. I often think I can do high speed things but I’ll just hurt myself!

  4. Michelle says:

    I’m totally guilty of unrealistic expectations! I figure however if I reach for the moon, maybe I’ll reach the stars 🙂 (or something like that LOL)

    I push myself with my workouts and am really looking forward to being fit at 50! I know that’s 5 years away but I’m giving myself time!

    • Hey Michelle,

      Pushing yourself now will definitely have you looking and feeling great when you are 50. It doesn’t hurt to start planning now. Love your attitude! 🙂

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